The benefits of finding the perfect running partner

By Ian Fraser

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Race Director, Ian Fraser is running the Ottawa 5K presented by Runkeeper on May 27 in support of Ottawa Race Crises Centre (ORCC). Join his team Strides for ORCC or any Desjardins Charity Challenge team, and walk, run, or roll in support of your community on May 27-28, 2023. 

Getting out the door can be so hard sometimes. The best of intentions to get my run in at 6:30 am so often slides into 7:00 am (following a few smashes on the snooze button). Seven then becomes 7:30 and then it’s time to get to work and visions of a lunch run start to look like a reality. Wait! There are no openings around noon. I’ve booked calls! Ok, right after work, I’m going, and then…

Does this sound familiar to you? I still struggle with this even though there are no longer any kids to pick up from school or other family activities that are more highly prioritized.

At the core, I’ve always enjoyed solo running as a way to escape from the hectic pace of my busy work days. Equally important is the space running provides to unpack thoughts, ideas and to organize the day ahead or put to bed the day that has just passed. Here lies the balancing act around fitting that run in and maybe defaulting to the couch.

Is the solution to bring a running buddy onboard? In my case, yes! Over the years I have shared this sacred space and time with a few close friends and a spouse from time to time (but she’s too fast for me now). My current run partner helps me get out the door in the morning and provides the perfect pace with just the right amount of conversation when I need it and enough silence when I don’t. The perfect team! I’m always better off for the experience at the end of runs we’ve shared.

We don’t run all the time together and for me, that’s the magic of having a running pal. I still need my space and I still need to get lost inside my own head but not all the time. Having balance has really helped keep me motivated and at the same time accountable.

There are countless runs I would not have gone on if I hadn’t committed to being at a certain meeting point at a specific time. That snooze button is too tempting or, in other cases, the day has gotten away from me as other priorities jumped to the front of the queue.

When you find that perfect partner the opportunities for sharing thoughts and ideas are boundless. Maybe it’s because our brains are more highly oxygenated or we’ve created a perfect rhythm with each stride; but things really flow.

Running friends can also provide for a better measure of safety when we hit the roads or trails. Being a runner can come with a number of dangers. It’s frightening and disappointing to know that being outside, enjoying the beauty of movement is not safe for so many people and women in particular (I write more on this in Making a difference, with every step). For someone to feel that they just can’t run alone is unfair but thankfully a running buddy can help change that reality. Strength in numbers can make a positive difference for so many people. Maybe this is a good place to put the plural into buddy and bring a small group of friends into your running circle?

Remember, find someone who you actually like spending time with and someone who is comfortable running at your pace and your time of day. Put all of these pieces together and you reap the benefits!

All of us at Run Ottawa are looking forward to welcoming you at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend this May. Stay safe!